Saturday, July 18, 2009

Marriott, Ritz-Carlton in Indonesia Bombed: It Could Have Been Worse

Indonesia is in the news again - and I'm sure the Indonesian tourist industry wishes it wasn't.

Marriott, Ritz-Carlton in Jakarta Hit: Over a Half-Dozen Dead

Bombs went off at two hotels: The JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta and the Ritz-Carlton next door, hotels that were connected by a tunnel. At this point, it looks like two suicide bombers went off, first killing five people at the Marriott - plus the bomber - then a few minutes later killing one person at the Ritz-Carlton - plus the bomber. So, counting the weapon systems, a total of eight people known dead.

There's no end of a mess to clean up, too: and the possibility that the death toll may climb.

The good news yesterday was that another bomb was found before it went off.

Checking in, Checking Out

This may be a new wrinkle: it looks like the suicide bombers, and maybe more people associated with the attack, checked in before blowing up. I'm pretty sure that hoteliers in Indonesia and elsewhere are reviewing their arrangements for protecting their guests from 'outside' attacks - and from each other.

Certainty Increases With Distance

As so often happens, those least closely connected with investigating the attack seem the most certain about who is responsible. A western news service identified the attack as a "...Revival of Jihadi Terror..." (Bloomberg) The anonymous "security analysts" could be right. Suicide attacks are a trademark of those lions of Islam who convince somebody else that they'll get an all-expense-paid harem if they blow themselves up.

On the other hand, maybe this is a new, non-Islamic sort of suicide bomber.

I think it's likely enough that this is the work of some bunch who think they're making the world safe for Islam, or something of that sort. But it's early days yet.

Another Look at the Headlines

I see that the death toll is now nine, and that Indonesian police are looking at DNA left by the suicide bombers. (AFP)

Also, that it looks like Jemaah Islamiyah might be responsible. That's the outfit that killed 202 people in Bali, back in 2002. Indonesian police say the bombs used yesterday are 'identical' to the sort used by Jemaah Islamiyah. Yesterday's attacks were the worst in Indonesia since 2005. (AFP)

Here's What I Think: We Don't Know Yet

Anonymous experts notwithstanding, I think it's 'way too early to know just what went on in Jakarta yesterday. The business of checking in before blowing up seems to be something new - and that may be significant. At a minimum, that's going to have people in the hospitality industry taking another look at how they protect their guests.

Beyond that, judging from what's in the news, what we have is suspicions about who is responsible, a rising body count, and what appears to be a serious effort by law enforcement in Indonesia to find out exactly who is responsible.

I'm just glad that the death toll is so low. From the sounds of it, the bombings could have been a lot worse. Cold comfort to friends and family of the victims, of course.

Related posts: In the news:


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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.